Western Ghats are resplendent with verdant green throughout the year but the monsoons breathe new life and greenery to the place. While many advocate avoiding the Western Ghats during monsoons, we recommend taking a plunge and witness what lies in store for you. If you’re worried about ‘slippery slopes’ (pun intended), check these monsoon destinations in the Western Ghats. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Igatpuri, Maharashtra
Sure Mahabaleshwar is beautiful and appealing but it is also a tourist-magnet, which means you are likely to be overwhelmed by the crowd. Instead you can drive straight up to Igatpuri to bask in the green-glory of its valleys. Perched at about 600 m above sea level, the monsoons cast quite a spell here. The breeze is cold, the sun pleasant and the rains plenty, and it is only 116 km away from Mumbai!
2. Valparai, Tamil Nadu
A lesser-known destination in Tamil Nadu that truly blossoms during the rains is Valparai, located amidst the Annamalai Mountains. Also known as ‘the seventh heaven’, this plantation town is thriving with biodiversity with the lion-tailed macaques, nilgiri tahr and Indian hornbills inhabiting its forests. The picturesque drive to Valparai gives you a hint of what awaits you at your destination.
3. Agumbe, Karnataka
Care for a trek to cascading waterfalls in the ‘trekker’s paradise’ of Karnataka? Agumbe was tailor-made for that. The place comes to life during the rains when the downpour re-energises its many waterfalls with renewed energy and force. The stunning sunsets and waterfalls like the Onake Abbi falls, Barkana falls and the Jogigundi falls await you after gruelling but fulfilling treks.
4. Thekaddy, Kerala
The Periyar forests of Kerala in Thekaddy often go unnoticed by many, overshadowed by the more tourist-intensive destinations in the state. Home to one of the must-visit wildlife reserves in the country, Thekaddy is ideal for the monsoons. Go bamboo rafting or jungle night patrol, explore the Periyar National Park and witness the Suruli falls in all its glory.
5. Torna Fort, Pune
The first fort Shivaji captured at the age of 16, Torna Fort, is also known as Prachandagad. The fort has as much historical significance as it has natural aesthetic appeal. From Velhe, the trek to the fort takes three hours, although we wouldn’t suggest it for beginners, given the steepness. Remember that there are no shops for water or food along the way and the mobile connectivity is also missing. But, what awaits you at the top is in every sense worth it.